June 02 2022 2022 Content Marketing Trends & Best Practices No matter where you are, there is a very high possibility that you are being surrounded by content. From scrolling through websites and your social media feeds to watching videos on YouTube and reading newsletters or blogs - you are being exposed to content marketing on different platforms daily. This form of marketing attracts, acquires, and ultimately helps to drive profitable action by distributing relevant and valuable content to consumers. If it is done correctly, content marketing allows you to build trust and brand loyalty with customers while supporting your overall inbound marketing strategy. With technology and our needs constantly evolving, it’s important to keep pace with the latest trends and best practices. Here is everything you need to know about content marketing in 2022 and the best practices to follow to be successful. Top Content Trends of 2022 Short-form video: Delivering content through video, specifically short-form video, continues to be a primary form of media used in many content strategies. This is due to the amount of online video watched by consumers which has almost doubled since 2018. Not only have marketers invested in video because of the uptick in consumer interest and high engagement rates, but it is also beneficial to most brands because it can boost recognition while also building trust with new or existing consumers. Interactive Content: Interactive content continues to top the charts because of its ability to drive high engagement levels and lead to repeat visitors. Marketers use interactive content such as polls and quizzes to directly engage with their audiences and gather intel about what their target audience is truly like. Although regularly used on social media, these can also be integrated into a blog or landing pages to ultimately generate more leads. Podcasts: With U.S. consumers listening to about 15 billion hours of podcasts in 2021, this content type has become a staple in many content marketing strategies. Podcasts have a large range of topics, from true crime and talk shows to financial education, which allows everyone to be able to find something that appeals to them. Additionally, podcasts have proven to drive results with 60% of podcast listeners searching for products after hearing about it in a podcast. Hybrid Events: Virtual events, such as webinars, have become more popular over the last few years because of the pandemic and at one point were the only events that people were able to enjoy. Now that many pandemic restrictions have been lifted, many events and webinars will continue to be offered in a hybrid model simply because of the convenience factor. This allows consumers to be able to interact with your business on a digital platform or in-person - giving them the option of what works best for them. Marketers should plan to increase their investment in hybrid events to ensure all their audiences can participate. Infographics: A picture is worth a thousand words, so why not utilize easily shareable infographics in your content marketing strategy? Not only is it visually appealing, but it is informative and provides beneficial information to your consumers. In addition, infographics allow marketers to quickly communicate data in an easily digestible format. Often, infographics can also be broken up into separate graphics which can then be shared on social platforms too. Strategic Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Search engine optimization continues to be an important part of any content marketing strategy. Without SEO, your website, and all other content that you’ve created, may never be seen on a search engine’s results page (SERP). Incorporating SEO keyword research into your website copy, combined with strategic meta tags and other technical SEO fundamentals, will help your website’s visibility and assist in attracting the right audiences to your site. Content Marketing Best Practices While content marketing is an effective way to drive interest and encourage conversions, it’s a complex landscape, and therefore there needs to be approached strategically to get the best results for your business. Without implementing a strategy, all the creative infographics, educational podcasts, and intriguing videos won’t produce the business results you were expecting. Here are some tips and tricks to help you create an effective content marketing strategy that allows you to tell you brand’s story. Strategize and Plan: First, brainstorm what you want from your content marketing and the goals you’re looking to achieve. Are you looking to raise brand awareness, or generate leads? Do you have a new product or promotion that you want to highlight? Answering these questions will help to build your strategy and develop achievable and ideally measurable goals. Review Existing Content: It is always a good idea to look at the content you currently have before generating new content. This is the time to see what is already working well and what you can do to improve. For example, if you have an active blog, look at how it is performing. Is the content unique or up to date? Are there important topics that need a refresh? Dive into any available analytics to help you plan. Create Unique Content: Creating compelling content for the specific demographic you are targeting is key. Consumers are always looking for content they have never seen before or something that is exclusive or personalized. Try to develop content that they won’t get anywhere else - from behind-the-scenes moments to interviews or even user-generated content such as testimonials/reviews. Here are some key questions to ask yourself when creating content: What types of content will my target audience like to see? What content will have consumers coming back? What are my key differentiators and how can I leverage those in my content strategy? What resources do I have to create content now and in the future? Provide Audiences with a Mix of Content: To keep consumers engaged, it is important to give them a mix of content - from evergreen to topical. Evergreen content is search-optimized content that is continually relevant and stays fresh for readers over a long period of time. Benefits of including this content in your strategy include providing value to audiences, continuing to drive traffic to the site, and the ability to be updated as industry trends change. Topical content is content that provides relevant, timely and targeted information. This content is also important for your brand and to consumers. Your audiences want to stay on top of industry news, learn industry expertise, and be aware of current events. Adding a combination of these types of content will continue to keep your audiences engaged and ideally increase repeat visits. Utilize Analytics to Measure Success: In order to evaluate your content strategy’s performance, you will need to use an analytics tracking tool. Many analytics tools can measure visits to a page, but if you are looking to measure actual conversions, make sure to set up custom tracking. Once this is completed and your campaigns have run, it is important to investigate the performance of all your efforts. What performed well and what didn’t? Look into indicators that suggest your audiences were interested in your content such as clicks and how long visitors stayed on the page. Take note of what was successful and use that to optimize your content for future success. Although the content marketing landscape is complex and competitive, it is an essential part of expressing brand personality and should be a key in your digital marketing strategy. Not only will it build brand awareness, but it can improve conversions and help you set your brand apart from competitors. Need help getting started with your content strategy? Contact ZAG’s marketing team so we can assist with telling your unique story. Content Social Media posted by Jennifer Inho Digital Strategist Share this article ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.